They love Cardinal Kasper in American faux-catholic academia. He was unloading at Georgetown recently. The go-to source for all things Francis, Jesuit AmericaMag, has the report.
Cardinal Walter Kasper offered the highlight speech of this Memorial Day weekend’s Georgetown University/Marymount University conference marking the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. He spoke Saturday morning at Washington’s National Cathedral, the event’s third sponsor and chief ecumenical partner.
The President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity offered new hope for the unity of Christians in the 21st century. Quoting Isaiah 43, “Behold, I do something new,” the cardinal explained, traditional ecumenism is being transformed by the rise of the Evangelical and Pentecostal churches. Compared to the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant churches, these churches are mostly non-dogmatic and less institutionalized expressions of the Gospel.
Is it bad to have something be an institution? Doesn’t that just mean it’s both old and effective? Are we all Rousseauian radicals and romanticists now? Must everything be reduced to nothing before these men are satisfied?
Yes. It must.
These younger, growing churches are more emotional in their worship styles and more voluntarist in their organization. Their members don’t so much belong to a church, as members of the older churches do, but choose their churches. In that respect they represent a contemporary social development in which religious identities are more transitory and church boundaries more porous.
All churches must face that porosity as a sign of the times, Kasper suggested; and the older churches must examine themselves as to what they can learn from the younger Evangelical and Pentecostal ones. The growing importance of Evangelicals and Pentecostals, he suggested, will re-shape and renew 21st century ecumenism.
This is Christian leadership? The emotions of the times drive the Church. The Church doesn’t drive the times…unless something really bad happens. Then it’s the Church’s fault. Right, Diarmuid?
Can the doctrine. Shelve the rubrics. Make everything voluntary. Be porous.
The rise of the Evangelicals and Pentecostals, the cardinal said, constitutes a fourth stage in the history of the churches. The first was the divergence of the Oriental churches from the Mediterranean churches (Greek and Latin) after the Councils of Nicea and Chalcedon. These ancient churches of the Middle East, which lay beyond the bounds of the Roman Empire, never accepted the doctrines of the great councils, and so are sometimes called Non-Chalcedonian.
The second phase was the break of the Orthodox East from the Latin West in the Great Schism in 1054. The third was the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, which split Western Christianity into Protestant and Catholic branches.
Look to the history of schism and heresy for guidance. There’s a magisterium Cardinal Kasper can obey.